Reading has a special place in my heart. I love doing read aloud to my students, and when I learned of the World Read Aloud Day (WRAD) activity I couldn't pass up the opportunity to connect my students to wonderful authors. I have heard of the World Read Aloud in the earlier years, but I didn't know where to start. Thankfully this year, through my twitter professional account, I was able to connect with fellow educators who had experience with #Skype read aloud with authors.
Through @KateMessner Twitter account, who collated all the authors' names, time schedule and emails, I was able to connect with authors and secure a schedule for our World Read Aloud Day Skype with author activity.
A week before the WRAD activity, Ms. Sylvia, Ms. Janette, Ms. Shiela(Reading Coordinator), and Ms. Em (Language Coordinator) met with me and finalized the classes who will be participating in the said activity. For the 3rd grade class, 3H was chosen, 5th grade was 5E and 6th grade was 6I.
The 3H grade students had their first Skype experience with author Leslie Bulion. They were very excited before and during the Skype activity. Ms. Leslie read to us the story, Fatuma's New Cloth, during the activity, she showed us how to wear a Kanga, a colourful garment, worn by women and occasionally by men throughout the African Great Lakes region. After the story, Ms. Leslie entertained questions from our students. Some questions were:
1.When did you start writing a book?
2. What do you do when you're not writing a book?
She was also generous enough to entertain our students' question about the weather/climate. She even went outside to show us how to make a snow ball. We were very grateful for Ms. Leslie for the warm accommodation she showed us during the read aloud activity.
On the other hand, 5E students met the Australian author Ms. Jennifer Poulter and Ms. Muza Olasowski - an Australian illustrator. They read two stories to the students, "Sea Cats Dream" and "Getting Home." Students loved both stories as they were able to relate with. "Getting Home" talked about being with our family, while "Sea Cat's Dream" on being courageous. They also had an opportunity to ask questions from both the author and the illustrator. Some questions were:
1. Where do you get your inspiration to write?
2. What things inspire you to illustrate the characters?
Lastly, the 6I students had a #MysterySkype with author Lauren Magaziner. She read a chapter of her book, "Pilfer Academy", then after that, she entertained questions from the students. They had shared information on genres of books she likes to read, as well as how she keeps herself in the mood to write. What inspires her? Things like that. Students also had a chance to ask advice on how do they pursue as a writer, and how does a book get published.
I'd like to think that having this opportunity for our students did not only help them broaden their perspective but also gave them a chance to connect and open opportunities for them to try new things. They were able to practice their listening and questioning skills. They had a chance to interact with experts in the field of writing. This was one of our goals in providing an authentic audience.
Through this activity, we can already prepare well for the coming activities we plan to participate next school year. So far, this has been my topmost achievement for this school year. Being able to connect with renowned authors in their field of expertise and having the chance to interact and get firsthand information from them.